This letter was donated to the Richland County ILGenWeb site by Nora Tocus. We're unsure at this time whether the letter was written in the town of Richland in Sangamon County, IL, or in the County of Richmond, IL. If anyone has any information about an abbey or a nunnery in either location that worked with the craft of spinning wool in 1853, please let us know so we can properly identify the location. Whether it is Richland County or the town of Richland, the letter gives us some insight into the lives and beliefs of our history. Items in brackets ([...]) are inserted into the text for clarification and were not part of the original letter.
Richland, April, 1853
David B. Starr
You will please tell James [James Newton Starr, son of DBS] that I received his letter containing a five-dollar bill for which, whether it was good or not, by giving five cents with it I got a five dollar gold piece in the bank and he has filled his promise in money matters. I hope he will also in that more important matter in preparing to meet his God in peace.
I have twice been to the wool factory but did not get in writing their prices but from what they told me I think it was about the same as they were last year. So I take them from the Belleville Advocat published over the owners proper name---for carding 6 1/4 cents or one-fifth of the wool, for Spinning 16 2/3 cents or 2/5 of the wool---now if I am not mistaken and I think that I am not, the price for Spinning includes carding that is they Card and Spin six poun of wool for one dollar---this they told me---and Polly had Nuns spin for her last year and she says it is better thread than she can make, being evener and stronger---weaving 15 cents per yard; Fulling, Washing, Shearing and Pressing 12 1/2 cents per yard; Dyeing according to the colors required from ten cents to twenty five cents per pound.
My family is in tolerable health, my wife has not got her health and expects it will be some time before she will be likely to have good health but I hope she will. She has grown fleshy and her flesh is solid and appears to be good for she has better strength but she is very short-winded and troubled with an inward weakness and sometimes has severe pains in different parts of her body---the rest of the connexion are well or not entirely. Some have the mumps and some have the measles and Some have sore eyes but there is not anything of a Serious nature to my knowledge. I hope you will give my best wishes to your family not forgettin Julian and her family. [Julia Ann Starr d/o DBS: by November of 1854 she and both her babies had died] Tell her and her husband [William W Keele] that we would like to see them all. Tell Father and Mother Street [Reverend James Steet and Mary Newton Street] that I have not yet forgot about them and Request them to Remember me at the throne of God's grace.
I would like to pay you a visit but I am so no account that I get tired of Riding a little way and my wife and Daughter lives in Marion County and I have one living in Adams County and another expects to move there next September. Her husband Samuel Ogle has been up there since James was here and bought a place which is to be paid for by the first of October---and whether I shall ever get to see any of them or not in this world I know not but there is one consolation I have; I hope we shall meet in Heaven there to part no more but live in the full enjoyment of bliss where God and Christ are, where we all shall join to praise Him who has done so much for us, we hope as to love us unworthy though we feel we are. But my not coming need not prevent any of you. I should like to see you one and all but if we never meet in this world let us try to live so that we meet in that happy world where sin and sorry never can enter---now I know that we cannot prepare ourselves, that is not what I mean---we must submit to God to be our Ruler---he has given us the Bible in which is both His law and Gospel by the deeds of the law no flesh is justified but this invites all to believe on His Son Jesus Christ and commands all men to Repent of their Sins and Pray. He not only commands all men to pray but he has left many encouraging promises to encourage us to do our duty such as Ask and you shall Receive and then if we do not ask are we not culpable---here again what he says: Call ye me Lord and (but ye) do not the things that I command---if we do not try to ask him for the things we need as he commands are we not denying his authority to Rule over us--------Some will say God is a God of Love, and Mercy is his name but we must recollect that Mercy is butr one attribute and Justice another and some will say but Salvation is complete in Jesus Christ, and by hin, without any patching of ours. True, and it is offered freely to all that are willing to accept it and Christ says that this is the condenation of the World that Light has come uno the Light and now I do not believe that any man has mixture of blood for which he will be eternally punished---but He it will for rejecting offered mercy that is offered freely to all---may God grant that none of us may be in that number that will continue to reject offered Mercy until Mercy's door is shut against us forever is the Prayer of your unworthy uncle.
Contributed by Nora Tocus.